Business Broadband - Fibre?

Associate
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Hi all,
I'm looking at options for replacing our work's broadband. I need it to be quick download and upload, and be reliable. We currently have 8MB ADSL which is fine for everyday use. However, we run a server from on the connection which is very heavy on bandwidth. Therefore, i'm looking at other options to get maximum download and upload speeds.

What options do I have?:
- Get a faster ADSL connection with a lower contention ratio
- Get a cable connection too, and load balance
- Get SDSL for the matched upload speed (slow download speed though - 2MB)

I'm also looking into how much a direct fibre optic link would cost. Does anyone have any thoughts on the above?

Cheers,
Matt
 
Soldato
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One other thing you could consider is bonded ADSL - multiple ADSL lines bonded together with the same IP. We don't use it, but have heard good things about it. As an example http://broadband.nildram.net/load_balanced/ but multiple ISP's offer it.

We actually have two lines in our Office, one is a 8Mb ADSL Max line (8mb down, 832K up), and the other is Be which is 24 meg down and 1.5 meg up. We're getting a third line as well with Virgin shortly (purely because if a fault occurs at the BT exchange it could knock both our ADSL lines out, and also because we want another 20meg :p)

Our firewall (Watchguard X550e) allows us to not only load balance the lines, but to also choose what goes out each line. So, for example our public web server and emails go out through the Be line to make the most use of the 1.5meg up, and our lower priority internet traffic is forced through the 8mb line. If one line goes down, then all traffic goes through the remaining line.
 
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feenster99 said:
Hi all,
I'm looking at options for replacing our work's broadband. I need it to be quick download and upload, and be reliable. We currently have 8MB ADSL which is fine for everyday use. However, we run a server from on the connection which is very heavy on bandwidth. Therefore, i'm looking at other options to get maximum download and upload speeds.

What options do I have?:
- Get a faster ADSL connection with a lower contention ratio

Not really worth it if you are hosting buisness critical servers. ADSL is not a method for delivering buisness critical internet access the SLA's are not good enough!
feenster99 said:
- Get a cable connection too, and load balance Matt
See my reply above
feenster99 said:
- Get SDSL for the matched upload speed (slow download speed though - 2MB)
You'll get a better SLA for SDSL services, but at the end of the day you are still at the mercy of BT.
feenster99 said:
I'm also looking into how much a direct fibre optic link would cost. Does anyone have any thoughts on the above?

Cheers,
Matt
Ge a leased line connection from a ISP of your choice, you'll get a proper SLA (4 hour clear 24x7X365 are not uncommon). And since nearly all leased line connections are now delivered on fibre anyway you have a fairly easy upgrade path from 2Mb ->100Mb.
However this level of service does not come cheap, but shop around and play the ISP's off against one another to get the best price. There is a lot more leway for bartering at this end of the price range ;)
 
Soldato
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http://www.enta.net/index.php?id=246

Send an email to them with details about the company (location) and speed you want (ranges from 2Mbps to multiple Gbps links). For 2Mbps expect somewhere between £10,000 to £20,000 for install and around £1000 a month for line rental. (At a guess based on quotes people have mentioned.) You will get this speed up and down. ADSL max doesn't bond very well.

You can try ADSL premium which will give you 832K upload. If there is Be LLU available then you can get further increases on upload speed.
 
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If you want business critical and fast upload then be prepared to pay for it.
People for some reason expect to be able to run these kind of services over ADSL - and then get upset when they find their £20 per month connection isn't reliable enough and certainly doesn't offer them enough upload.

Early this year we upgraded from our old 2mb/2mb leased line to an 8mb/8mb connection.
We actually paid to have a 45mb/45mb linke installed and we have then been tiered off to 8mb/8mb.
However should we want any more bandwidth we simply phone up, agree to start paying a few hundred more each month and our line can be instantly upgraded.
Soon after our new line went live, our ISP let us use the whole 45mb/45mb connection for the first month for free and it was amazing.
Alas we had to drop back for the time being.

If you want business class, be prepared to pay for it.
 
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If it business critical then you should expect to pay for it. Either go SDSL or leased line and look carefully at the SLA not just the price.

ADSL is designed as a home consumer product and has effectively no SLA's proper attached to it from BTW and also if you are wanting to be uploading then even ADSL Max Premier only offers 800 odd Kbps upload and if you max this out you downloads will be dire as well.

As the stoofa said if your business relies on it then be prepared to send the money on the connection. Do not expect to be getting much simpathy from your ISP if it fails and you are paying sub £20 for a service and you ring up throwing your toys saying this is costing me hundreds/thousands of pounds a day and I want it fixed NOW.
 
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Is there any reason why you couldn't colocate the server - you'll get a faster and cheaper connection with better availability than you'll ever get to an office, and there's the benefits of it being in an air conditioned DC with guarantees on power et al.
 
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Some excellent replies - thank you.

Whilst i'm not naive enough to think a fibre link would cost the same as ADSL, I wasn't expecting it to cost quite so much - that is out of our league at the moment.

Co-location isn't an option, as we need easy access to the server that is running (for various reasons I won't go into).

Is seems like our best option for the time being is to load balance. We currently have an 8MB ADSL connection, so perhaps a 20MB Virgin Media line would be a good second option. How does this work - do we end up with 2 IP addresses (i.e., one for ADSL, one for Cable)? What maikes/models of Routers should I be looking at? We currently use a Draytek 2800, which I really like. They produce a 3300V which load balances - we'd need an ADSL model for our existing connection though.

Thanks again for all the advice - it is much appreciated.

Matt
 
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feenster99 said:
Co-location isn't an option, as we need easy access to the server that is running (for various reasons I won't go into).

You could get it co-located and then connect to the environment over a VPN/leased line connection. I suppose it depends whats meant by access in terms of amount of data transferred too and from the server internally as to the viability of this approach.
 
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feenster99 said:
We currently use a Draytek 2800, which I really like. They produce a 3300V which load balances - we'd need an ADSL model for our existing connection though.


Would you? Any ADSL modem with ethernet would work. VM cable is incredibly reliable so I'd recommend it alongside your ADSL.
 
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Unfortunately, Virgin only do ADSL in our area it seems :(

I don't think co-location is an option as we need tight control over the hardware that is used in the server, and will be constantly upgrading it over time. Plus, we are an IT firm and have lots of bits to hand ;)

I'm liking the look of the Be Pro connection - that would be a great starting point as the Upload speed can be notched up at the expense of the download speed, which would be fine.

So apart from the Draytek (which costs ~£350), what other load balancing routers should I look at? In terms of the setup, I guess each Internet connection would have it's own IP address, and i'd just have to setup an 'A' record on our domain name for each one?

Matt
 
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